Bedford's Daystar Television Network humiliated and defamed a producer and discriminated against her because she would not break off an office romance, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
The lawsuit is the third filed against Daystar in recent months, after the disclosure by network founder Marcus Lamb in November that he had an extramarital affair.
The latest suit was filed by Karen Thompson, one of three women Daystar has sued, alleging that they conspired to commit extortion, violated confidentiality agreements and sought profit at Daystar's expense. Daystar contends that the women demanded $7.5 million to keep Lamb's affair a secret, but a police investigation found that no laws were broken in the alleged "extortion."
Thompson was an employee from 2002 until 2010. Thompson was demoted because she "declined to end [her] relationship," according to the lawsuit. Thompson worked as producer of The Joni Show, a program featuring network founder Marcus Lamb's wife, Joni, according to the suit.
Mike Androvett, spokesman for Daystar's legal team, said Thompson chose to initiate an ongoing relationship with an employee under her supervision who was 15 years younger than her. "When confronted about the inappropriate nature of this relationship, Ms. Thompson refused to break off the affair," Androvett said. "Ms. Thompson was repeatedly told that the affair with her employee was incompatible with her leadership position and was creating further problems among her other co-workers. "
Thompson's lawsuit lays out this version of events:
Thompson began dating a male employee of Daystar, which was not "prohibited by any policy of Daystar," the suit says.
On Jan. 11, 2010, Joni Lamb told Thompson to terminate her relationship.
"For approximately two hours, Joni Lamb berated, belittled, and harassed [Thompson]. Joni Lamb told [Thompson] that she had 'shamed' both Daystar and Joni Lamb, called [Thompson] a 'liar' and a 'bad example,'" the lawsuit contends.
Thompson received the highest overall performance evaluation, which noted her dependability, trustworthiness and creativity. But Thompson was demoted, her salary was reduced, and she was evicted from her office, the lawsuit says.
Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126